The Building Blocks

Sounds are softer or louder, harsher or gentler. We hear new rhythms in the wind. Singing or mechanical sounds appear in a previously silent environment.

The skin is more or less sensitive to touch. Our ability to taste and smell becomes more or less acute.

Our emotions overflow or dry up. Anxiety or fear, pleasure or relaxation, all feelings wax and wane, overpoweringly intense or frustratingly absent. At the extremes lie terror or ecstasy. Two opposite feelings may exist together at the same time. Emotional conflicts become more painful, or a new emotional acceptance takes place. We have a new appreciation of how others feel, or no longer care about them at all.

Our thinking processes speed up or slow down. Thoughts themselves become confused or clearer. We notice the absence of thoughts, or it is impossible to contain the flood of new ideas. Fresh insights about problems come, or we become hopelessly stuck in a mental rut. The significance of things takes on more importance than the things themselves. Time collapses: in the blink of an eye, two hours pass. Or time expands: a minute contains a never-ending march of sensations and ideas.

Our bodies are hot or cold, heavy or light; our limbs grow or shrink; we move upward or downward through space. We feel the body no longer exists, or that the mind and body have separated.

We feel more or less in control of our "selves." We experience others influencing our minds or bodies—in ways that are beneficial or frightening. The future is ours for the taking, or fate has determined everything and there is no point in trying.

Psychedelics affect every aspect of our consciousness. It is this unique consciousness that separates our species from all others below, and that gives us access to what we consider the divine above. Maybe that's another reason why the psychedelics are so frightening and so inspiring: They bend and stretch the basic pillars, the structure and defining characteristics, of our human identity.

These are the psychedelic drugs. There exists a complex and rich context for viewing them, a perspective that few appreciate. They are not new substances, and we know an enormous amount about them. They ushered in the modern era of biological psychiatry, and their highly publicized abuse prematurely ended an extraordinarily rich human research endeavor.

It was into this seething matrix of conflict, ambivalence, and controversy that I looked for a point of traction and a clear line of sight in order to formulate my own research agenda. Where could I get a toehold? In which direction should I look? I needed a key with which to open the lock keeping psychedelic research buried.

Out of this virtual swamp emerged one small obscure molecule: DMT. Its call was one I could not ignore, even though I had little idea of how I might get to it. Nor could I possibly expect where it would lead me once I found it.

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Free Yourself from Panic Attacks

Free Yourself from Panic Attacks

With all the stresses and strains of modern living, panic attacks are become a common problem for many people. Panic attacks occur when the pressure we are living under starts to creep up and overwhelm us. Often it's a result of running on the treadmill of life and forgetting to watch the signs and symptoms of the effects of excessive stress on our bodies. Thankfully panic attacks are very treatable. Often it is just a matter of learning to recognize the symptoms and learn simple but effective techniques that help you release yourself from the crippling effects a panic attack can bring.

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